Kristen Bradley

Founder of The Chic Maven

Kristen Bradley is a woman with a unique blend of skills – she has a background in finance and an innate sense of style that allows her to excel in the high-end event organizing sector. Kristen is the founder of The Chic Maven, a YouTube channel focused on luxury clothes shopping and styling. She also has experience creating floral and decor for weddings, corporate events, and lavish parties. Her clients appreciate her keen eye for detail and her ability to create unforgettable experiences.

“Bradley has always been a person who values her time. As a result, she has dedicated herself to leading a meaningful life where her time is her most valuable asset. She also counsels others to view their time as their most precious resource. Bradley knows that if people do not use their time wisely, it will be gone before they know it.”

Kristen Bradley is the brains behind The Chic Maven, a platform providing young women fashion and lifestyle advice. Kristen started her YouTube channel in 2021 and quickly garnered a following for her relatable, down-to-earth style.

She’s worked in luxury retail for Saint Laurent, Neiman Marcus and consulted for several small businesses. Kristen is dedicated to helping young women build their confidence and feel stylish on a budget.

As the proprietor of Panache Style, She concentrates on floral and event design for numerous high-end events. No matter where the event is situated, be it Miami, Florida, or anywhere else in the world, Panache Style offers an upgraded experience to personal and business clients alike. The company provides complete floral design, event decor services, and installation of seasonal decor.

Where did the idea for The Chic Maven come from?

I always wanted to do a fashion blog but I never really had the time. I worked in fashion for so many years and truly developed a love and appreciation for beautifully crafted clothing. Over time I’ve also collected a lovely collection of well curated pieces in my closet. There were many times in the past when I considered starting a fashion blog to share my love of style, but I just didn’t see how it could fit into my extremely busy schedule. At one point I was producing three events in a weekend. Whether it was a wedding, Bat Mitzvah, or birthday party my team and I literally had a non stop event production schedule for months on end. The pandemic came and changed everything. Once the world was put to a halt and social gatherings were pretty much non-existent, like the rest of the world I found myself in a place I’d never been before. This was going to be the first time in years that I wouldn’t be processing flowers, or going over designs and warehouse protocols with my team. I suddenly had all this free time that I needed to pour into something. This is when I decided to visit the idea of actually starting a blog. I thought of what I would call it and how I would market it. I’ve always considered my style to be quite classic, feminine, and elegant for the most part. I do have my moments where I occasionally venture outside of this aesthetic. Most of the people that know me have always called my style chic and I knew whatever I named my blog would at least revolve around the word “chic”. I started looking for domain names that were available and everything that I could think of was unavailable. It was almost as if it was destined for me to name the blog The Chic Maven; due to the fact that this literally was the only name that popped in my head that was available as a domain name, instagram name, and a youtube name. I felt like it embodied my style aesthetic perfectly and went with it. I purchased the domain and set up the website. I took a few pictures and published a few blog posts. I really didn’t know what blogging fully entailed and after doing my research I realized that blogging was even a thing anymore. I decided that Youtube might be a good way to showcase my style instead. I had never posted a youtube video in my life and I didn’t know much about how to run a channel. I heard it was quite difficult to grow on Youtube from a number of people so I didn’t have much expectations going in. To my surprise my Youtube channel grew much faster than I expected. I posted my first video in February and by November I had 50,000 subscribers.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day involves me getting my son ready for school, making my family breakfast and then dropping my son off at school. Afterwards, I head to my office / warehouse to start my work day. I usually begin with checking emails. I meet with my team to go over the details of the upcoming events. I go over floral orders, and all the aspects of the events from lighting to linens, tables, chairs, floor covers, custom pieces we need to produce etc.. We also go over timelines and check what we have in the warehouse that needs to go for the weekend. There are numerous details and so much excruciating work that goes into event production. Most people think producing events is an easy, glamorous business. It definitely looks glamorous when every flower and detail is in its place but it’s far from glamorous when you go through the process of putting it together and setting everything up. At the end of the day I pick my son up from school and take him to karate or football practice. We go home for dinner, do homework and then I relax with my family.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a planner by nature so I do lots of research and critical thinking before I execute any ideas. I see things quite vividly in my mind before I put them to paper. After I come up with an idea I consider what would be the most cost effective way to execute it and what gives the most wow factor. For my weddings and events I have honed this process over the years so it’s second nature. I consider what my clients want their guests to feel when they enter a room, how these elements work together to create a seamless experience and how they fit within the budget. I then pick out the variety of flowers I want to use, the furniture that coordinates with my design, the mood of the lighting, and the remaining design details. I create a proposal and floor plan in my design program and then submit it to a client. Once it’s approved I go over it with my team to source the items we need to make it happen. For my youtube channel this is a whole process that I’m still trying to figure out. Coming up with ideas of what to share with my subscribers is not always easy. I try to ask them directly what they want to see and filter out the ideas I’m comfortable with. Sometimes this is a double edged sword. Oftentimes I find that the audience isn’t always on one accord about what topics they actually want to watch. I hope to get better at coming up with ideas through studying my analytics and understanding how the audience responds to help with this process.

What’s one trend that excites you?

For my fashion channel one trend that excites me is fall fashion. I love the fall outfits and the fabulous looks you can create when the weather cools down.Layering sweaters, vest, jackets and wearing boots is just the best part of the year. I also thoroughly enjoy fashion week during the fall. It’s always exciting to see what designers have created for the coming season.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Having great time management and sticking to a schedule helps me be more productive. Trying to juggle all these hats would be chaotic if I didn’t have a strict schedule.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to persevere no matter what adversity I face. I bought my event business and you would think that buying an established business would make it a lot easier to be successful but it was quite the opposite. I’ve dealt with a lot of obstacles to get to where I am at including racism, and sexisim. I had a vision of taking this business to a level far beyond the type of events they were produced before I took over. I’m happy to say I accomplished that despite many trials and errors. I’ve learned a lot over the years. There have been many times where I wanted to quit but I stuck with it.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Flowers should be the second thing you book for your event after the venue. Of course I am biased because I am an event designer. I think flowers provide the wow factor of the event and should be higher in budget priority when people are planning their events.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I recommend not mixing business with friendship. In my personal opinion this is just never a good idea. Especially if you truly value your friendships you don’t want a business deal that goes array to ruin your relationship.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

To grow my youtube channel I would research topics that had previously performed well in my niche. I would then think of ways I could add value to the topic and make a video that my audience would enjoy. My goal was never to copy anyone else’s work but to put my own take on the topic.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In the past it was difficult for me to delegate duties to my team to help me with running my business. It was hard for me to let go and allow others to take over tasks I was used to doing myself. This caused me to have issues growing a solid team when I didn’t allow people to feel important in their roles. I ended up short staffed and almost was unable to pull off an event because I didn’t have enough people. I had to learn to allow others to shine in what they were good at and build a team I could trust so I could scale my business and grow to another level. I’m actually at this point now with my youtube channel. I need to allow a team of people to support me so I can grow to the next level.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This is a tough one. I have a lot of great business ideas but I’m not sure I want divulge them at the moment. That said, I would say it’s always a great idea to spend time recruiting the best people before beginning any business project.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I spent was on a new tripod for my camera. It’s so much more convenient when I’m filming for my youtube channel.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Adobe premiere pro is the best purchase I’ve made in growing The Chic Maven. It makes the process of editing videos so much easier and more effective. It truly enhances the quality of the footage and streamlines the process of creating videos.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’m currently reading Viola Davis’s book “Finding Me”. I think it’s a very inspirational biography that anyone could benefit from reading. She shares some heart wrenching details about her life and obstacles she overcame to get to where she is now.

What is your favorite quote?

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak” Rachel Zoe

Key Learnings:

  • When faced with adversity you must persevere because your future is greater than your past..
  • Time is your most valuable asset and I’d rather spend my time trying to achieve success rather than fearing the what ifs.
  • When you know something is destined for you, you just have to go with it.